Garments Sramik Adhikar Andolan, a platform of 12 garment workers’ organisations, on Friday declared that they would go for strike and other tougher programmes in October if the government failed to declare new minimum wage structure for garment workers by September.
The platform coordinator, Mahbubur Rahman Ismail, made declaration at a national convention of garment workers on minimum wage at the National Press Club in Dhaka.
Speakers at the convention placed their arguments to justify why the gross wage of garment workers should not go below Tk 16,000 a month.
They also discussed possible ways to realise their demand.
Mahbubur Rahman asked the government to set minimum gross wage of Tk 16,000 for garment workers.
He also demanded a democratic labour law for the workers.
Dhaka University emeritus professor Serajul Islam Choudhury inaugurated the convention where senior unionists, political leaders, rights activists and academics spoke.
Garment being one of the top foreign currency earning sectors should not pay so low that the workers were forced to lead an inhuman life, he said.
Moshrefa Mishu, president of the Garment Workers’ Unity Forum, complained that the garment workers were facing detention and torture by law enforcing agencies and local goons for demanding wage increase.
She declared that they would observe tougher demonstration and strikes if the government did not declare Tk 16,000 as minimum wage by September.
‘If workers take to the streets once they will not return home without achieving their demand,’ she said.
Communist Party of Bangladesh president Mujahidul Islam Selim asked the government to declare the wage by next week.
Jahangirnagar University economics professor and member secretary of the National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports Anu Muhummad said workers were leading a slavery life.
Workers should start a movement to be true ‘workers’, said the professor.
About the movement for minimum wage, he said the success of the movement would depend on the unity of the workers and on the power of the movement.
Left Democratic Alliance coordinator and Saiful Huq assured that the political activists from the parties would stand by the workers to help them.
Among others Sramik Nirapatta Forum president Hamida Hossain, Nijera Kori coordinator Khushi Kabir, Garment Workers’ Trade Union Centre president Shahidullah Chowdhury, its executive president Kazi Ruhul Amin and general secretary Jolly Talukder, Trade Union Sangha general secretary Ashikul Alam, Garment Sramik Sanghati president Taslima Akhter and general secretary Julhasnayen Babu, Garment Sramik Front president Ahsan Habib Bulbul also addressed the programme.
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